Developing an Age-Friendly City

Having the option to age independently within one’s community is often presented as a healthy alternative to more traditional assisted living options (e.g. the World Health Organization, AARP). In this option, community refers to more than one’s home. It refers to the built environment around us and individual and collective person environment fit.

But how best to identify the particular constraints and opportunities for older people living in specific urban environments and what approaches are metropolitan cities taking to define baseline measures for policy and practice?

Over the last two years, the City of Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University, has conducted an assessment of the city’s age-friendliness in accordance with the terms and conditions of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s membership in the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.

Utilizing the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly protocols and resources, the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) has begun to build an evidence based profile of older Chicagoans using a range of methods and drawing on a variety of funding sources. Methods to date include: focus groups with older adults using senior centers, an environmental scan of popularly cited age-friendly indicators for livable communities, q sort interviews with key stakeholders working with older adults in the community; and a community wide survey for all older Chicagoans, which you can take below.

Sustaining age-friendly, healthy, livable communities for older adults. If you work with older adults in the City of Chicago, please friend the Age-Friendly Chicago Survey on Facebook at: or send out the survey link

This piece was developed with co blogger below:
Dr. Rebecca Johnson Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society
Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Jay Bhatt is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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